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Light turnout so far for Democratic primary in Arlington

Just under 10% of voters have cast ballots in today’s Democratic primary as of 9 a.m.

That includes 7% who voted early or by mail and 2% voting at the polls Tuesday morning, according to Arlington County election officials.

Today’s primary, for the first time in Arlington, features the use of ranked choice voting, for the six-way race for the two open Arlington County Board seats. Voters are asked to fill in the bubble for up to three candidates, in order of priority — one each for first, second and third choice.

The County Board race has seen a wide range of endorsements and one particularly divisive issue dividing candidate factions: the recently-passed Missing Middle housing ordinance allowing smaller-scale multifamily homes in neighborhoods previously zoned only for single-family detached houses.

The other closely watched race today is that for Arlington and Falls Church’s top prosecutor, between incumbent Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and her former deputy, Josh Katcher.

The incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney has continued to campaign — and raise significant campaign funding — on her national profile as a justice reformer. Katcher says he supports a more practical and effective implementation of justice reform, and has picked up an endorsement from the local police union amid a rise in crime, according to recent police statistics.

The race has also seen Katcher face some criticism for taking campaign contributions from Republicans.

Additional races include a three-way race for county Sheriff, a two-way race for State Senate (40th District), and a race for House of Delegates (2nd District) featuring one active candidate, Adele McClure, and Kevin Saucedo-Broach, who withdrew but remains on ballots.

Though turnout today is light compared to years in which federal races are on the primary ballot, it is in line with the last four-year cycle, in 2019, when Dehghani-Tafti defeated incumbent Theo Stamos for Commonwealth’s Attorney. Total voter turnout in that race was just under 17%.

Polls opened today at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

While the results of most races should be known within a few hours, the final tally for County Board will take a few days — potentially extending into the weekend — due to how ranked choice votes are tabulated, including the need to wait until all legal mailed-in ballots are received

ARLnow previously asked candidates to write essays describing why Arlington voters should support them. Links to those posts are below.

Commonwealth’s Attorney: Josh Katcher and Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. County Board: Tony WeaverJonathan DromgooleJD SpainMaureen CoffeySusan Cunningham, and Natalie Roy. Sheriff: Jose QuirozJames Herring, and Wanda Younger. State Senate: Barbara Favola.

Update at 1:50 p.m. — Primary day turnout is up to about 5%, bringing total turnout to 12%, according to the county elections office.

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